Day 2 - Temple Tours
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
March 27th, 2009 – by: invizee
Was it worth it?
There's nothing like seeing the sun cast its rays on perfectly symmetrical towers. Visually breathtaking, I found myself in quiet contemplation as I sat right on the pathway and let the magic of the morning air coupled with the sight wash all over me. Unfortunately, the magic was broken soon enough as the sun rose. Exploring Angkor Wat will easily take hours. The place is massive and there's a lot to take in. I couldn't cover everything but I was wowed at the architectural ingenuity of the Khmer empire. The Hindu influence was all too evident in the carvings etched in the temple walls.
Next was an exploration of Angkor Thom. The most memorable was Baphuon, a huge temple that's undergoing restoration works and Bayon, with its famous giant stone faces carved in. Spent quite awhile snapping photographs here, especially of the exterior walls!
March in Siem Reap is blazing hot. Come prepared with bottles of mineral water. If not its ok, as there are many local sellers pushing everything to you, from guide books to water to postcards. I know its a norm to have pushy sellers at tourist hotspots but I was still overwhelmed by the Cambodian kids running in hordes to us everytime we exited a temple.
If you have to buy something, please get a refreshing cold coconut juice from the side stalls as it provides a welcome relief to all the water you lost from perspiring. It was my main source of recharging, before we hit Ta Prohm next. (Or maybe sliced mango - their fruits are really sweet!)
Anyway Ta Prohm was my favourite temple of the day. Best known for its trees growing on the temple, this is a must see! Nature wins over man, as the trees growing in the towers demonstrate. I have a feeling that over time, the trees will completely shatter the temples. I can't really describe this place well in words, its something you got to see for yourself.
Toured a few other temples like Neak Pean, under the recommendation of my driver, Sak. He said that it had a nice "swimming pool" which I had to see. The said pool turned out to be eight pools surrounded by a cental temple. Unfortunately, it was not the wet season - so there was no water at all.
By then, we had temple fatigue so headed back to town for a rest. Explored the Noon Night Market and Angkor market to see if there were any good buys. But left feeling dissapointed, as they were evident tourist traps. We needed to explore how real Cambodians lived, and this came in the answer of Hanafy (our other tuktuk driver) the next day.
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